The Sign of Four (1932)

The Sign of Four was Arthur Wontner's third appearance as Holmes. The American producer Rowland V Lee was keen that Holmes and Watson were to be more dynamic and athletic than in the previous films, exchanging blows with the gang of villains in the final scenes at a dockyard warehouse. (This particular sequence was shown at the National Film Theatre's Sherlock Holmes evening earlier this year.)

Ian Hunter as Watson looks far too young to be Holmes' contemporary (he was then thirty-two to Wontner's fifty-seven) and his amorous pursuit of Mary Morstan is pure Hollywood hokum. While critics again praised Wontner's performance, they were disappointed by the poor production values.

Produced by Alpha Video which is not known for high quality, the transfer from video source looks no better than VHS, but for $5 and no region encoding – which means anyone can view it – it is excellent value. Great cover art, for a relatively uncommon film. Recommended. Available from Oldies.com in the US, where your webmaster was able to obtain 5 DVDs for $25

Associated Radio Pictures, Ltd., 1932. Released in the U.S. by World Wide Pictures, July 22, 1932

Director – Graham Cutts
Producer – Rowland V. Lee
Screenplay – W P Lipscomb
Sherlock Holmes Arthur Wontner
Mary Morstan Isla Bevan
Dr. John H. Watson Ian Hunter
Jonathan Small Ben Soutten
Thaddeus Sholto Miles Malleson
Major John Sholto Herbert Lomas
Athelney Jones Gilbert Davis
Bailey Roy Emerton
Bartholomew Kynaston Reeves
Captain Morstan Edgar Norfolk
Mrs. Hudson Clare Greet
Mordecai Smith Moore Marriott

The Sign of Four (1932)

The Sign of Four was Arthur Wontner's third appearance as Holmes. The American producer Rowland V Lee was keen that Holmes and Watson were to be more dynamic and athletic than in the previous films, exchanging blows with the gang of villains in the final scenes at a dockyard warehouse. (This particular sequence was shown at the National Film Theatre's Sherlock Holmes evening earlier this year.)

Ian Hunter as Watson looks far too young to be Holmes' contemporary (he was then thirty-two to Wontner's fifty-seven) and his amorous pursuit of Mary Morstan is pure Hollywood hokum. While critics again praised Wontner's performance, they were disappointed by the poor production values.

Produced by Alpha Video which is not known for high quality, the transfer from video source looks no better than VHS, but for $5 and no region encoding – which means anyone can view it – it is excellent value. Great cover art, for a relatively uncommon film. Recommended. Available from Oldies.com in the US, where your webmaster was able to obtain 5 DVDs for $25

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